Losing weight is something that most of us try but majority of us gain back within no time. Maintaining it is trickier and requires changing habits on a permanent basis. It is crucial to lose weight by adapting to ways that you will be able to sustain for the rest of your life. Lots of people lose weight only for occasions like a wedding or New Year party. However we should perceive weight loss as not just for a single, isolated event but also as a commitment for an overall healthy lifestyle.
Most of us are in jobs that need sitting for long hours with very little time for exercise. Such a sedentary lifestyle causes a decline in the metabolic rate and lowers the body’s ability to burn calories efficiently, instead storing them as fat reserves. A regular exercise regime can burn off extra calories, suppress appetite and maintain weight, whereas a lack of it leads to weight gain.
It is best to exercise regularly in moderation, than do it strenuously and then stop it altogether. Your routine should be flexible to match your lifestyle and health needs. The easiest alternative is walking at a moderate pace for 30-45 minutes to burn stored fat and help to speed up metabolism. It also reduces the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes and stroke.Be selective: Choose dishes, which involve healthy cooking methods like stir frying, roasting, grilling and steaming. Try to avoid deep fried food or go for smaller portions.
Eat slowly: Fast munchers have the tendency to overeat as it takes fifteen minutes for the brain to register that we are satiated.
Do not forget to drink water: Consume 8-10 glasses of water daily. It helps to keep you full, removes toxins and helps in proper circulation of nutrients in blood. Increase your fluid intake by adding vegetable juices and coconut water in your diet.
Eat breakfast: Begin your day by eating good breakfast as it helps to maintain the energy levels through out the day. Skipping it, often leads to overeating at the end of the day. Make sure you add some protein for your breakfast like egg, cheese, milk or cottage cheese (paneer). If you eat a high carbohydrate breakfast like paratha, dosa, upma or poha, you may feel sluggish all day.
Distribute your meals: Try to split your meals in 5-6 mini portions. It helps to keep the metabolism high and reduces hunger pangs.
Avoid binge eating: Avoid eating as a method to manage emotions. Do not eat unless you are hungry.
Manage stress: Stress raises cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body that predispose us to fat accumulation around the belly. Belly fat is associated with heart disease and diabetes risk. Manage stress through meditation, yoga or activities, which relax you. Increase your sleep and stay active to fight stress.
Exercise: Walk for 30 minutes every day and increase it by 10 minutes when you feel more energetic. Find a partner to exercise together. It helps to keep the motivation levels high. Add simple exercises into daily routine like walking up the stairs without holding the handrail, aerobics, dancing or a sport. All these activities help in reducing belly fat.
Limit intake of aerated drinks, tea and coffee: Switch to healthy choices like limewater, buttermilk, coconut water and green tea. Check your sugar intake.
Keep healthy snacking options: Keep fruits, raw vegetables, roasted pulses and nuts like almonds, walnuts handy. Opt for fiber rich foods like whole-wheat bread, wheat pasta and brown rice.
Avoid eating late night dinner: Late night dinners slow down absorption and lead to weight gain.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.